Car #88 Gold Coast 600 Photo credit: TeamVodafone

Car #88 Gold Coast 600 Photo credit: TeamVodafone

Jamie Whincup and Sébastien Bourdais have won today’s opening 300km race on the Surfers Paradise street circuit, edging out Will Davison and Mika Salo and their sister factory-backed team-mates Mark Winterbottom and Richard Lyons, in a race intensified by safety car appearances and strategy selections.

The final V8's endurance event features 28 invited internationals sharing the cars with their regular championship drivers. And with all teams opting to have their international co-drivers start the race, Bourdais, the only man to have won the Gold Coast Indy race twice, was determined to create even more history and become the first driver to win in both Indycars and V8 Supercars on the streets of Surfers Paradise.

Bourdais put in a flawless opening 35-lap stint from pole, building a 13 second gap on the next car before handing over to Whincup. With debris on track initiating a third and final safety car, Whincup conserved fuel, averting the need for another pitstop to claim his fifth series win at the Gold Coast and his seventh win of the year.

Crucially for Whincup, he now regains the championship lead after Team Vodafone teammate Craig Lowndes‘ misfortunes resulted in a DNF. Lowndes's 100-point lead following his Bathurst 1000 win two weeks ago was slashed to a deficit of 50 points. Lowndes and co-driver Andy Priaulx had suffered electrical issues in qualifying and continued to have problems before the race forcing Priaulx to start from pitlane. The Holden Commodore was in and out of the pits as the team tried to fix the fault, but Lowndes was forced to retire after a stray bollard damaged the radiator on the 81st lap.

“I love the streets of the Gold Coast!” said Whincup.

“Sébastien did an awesome job, he handed it over to me in the perfect position and it was just up to me to bring it home.”

Just 2.2 seconds behind Whincup was the Ford Performance Racing Falcon shared by Will Davison and Mika Salo. Despite Salo jumping the start and having ten seconds added to his first pit stop, he gained a near-10-second lead over the next car by the end of his stint. Davison then brought the #5 Falcon home to record his and the team's best finish of the season.

And it was a double-podium finish for Ford Performance Racing as Mark Winterbottom fought back brilliantly from almost a lap down to get on to the final spot of the podium after last-minute replacement co-driver, Northern Irishman Richard Lyons not only had to start from 17th on the grid, but also served a drive through penalty for shunting Irwin Racing's Marc Lieb into the Turn 14 exit wall on lap 18.

Pursuing Winterbottom in the closing stages was the hard charging Jim Beam Racing Falcon of James Moffat, co-driven by American Joey Hand. Having led the race for 35 laps after staying out under the second safety car deployment, Moffat finally refuelled with only 15 laps remaining. With fresh tyres and the final safety car bunching the field, Moffat picked off several cars to claim fourth, setting the fastest lap of the race and the lap record in the process.

After co-driver Patrick Long had made an impressive start climbing five places in the first lap, Bundaberg Racing's Fabian Coulthard also made a lot of ground to finish fifth staying out with Moffat during the second safety car appearance. Pepsi Max Crew's Greg Murphy and Oliver Gavin, Jack Daniel's Racing's Rick Kelly and Jorg Bergmeister, Fujitsu Racing GRM drivers Michael Caruso and Augusto Farfus, Mother Energy Racing Team's Jonathon Webb and Gil de Ferran and Fujitsu Racing GRM drivers Lee Holdsworth and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top ten.

Just missing out on the top-ten was Bathurst 1000 winner, Garth Tander. With the international drivers having to complete a minimum of 34 laps, Tander's Toll Holden Racing Team co-driver Ryan Briscoe pitted a lap short, due to a miscommunicated call. The pair had to pit again to allow Briscoe to complete another lap when the opportunity arose under the safety car on lap 49, but they dropped down the order as a result. Tander then lost more time under the second safety car as he lined up behind team-mate James Courtney in the pits who was also boxed in by the two Jack Daniel's Racing cars.

The final leg will be run on Sunday, with the top-scoring international driver winning the Dan Wheldon Memorial Trophy, a new award in honour of the late IndyCar star who had been set to contest this weekend's event with James Courtney.

Race 21 Results:

Pos Entrant Driver Vehicle Fastest Lap Fastest Lap Time Race Time Laps Points
1 TeamVodafone Jamie Whincup / Sebastian Bourdais Commodore VE2 97 01:11:6865 02:13:21:5515 102 150
2 Trading Post FPR Falcon Will Davison / Mika Salo Falcon FG 96 01:12:6686 02:13:23:7417 102 138
3 Orrcon Steel FPR Falcon Mark Winterbottom / Richard Lyons Falcon FG 101 01:12:2977 02:13:24:0198 102 129
4 Jim Beam Racing James Moffat / Joey Hand Falcon FG 99 01:11:3020 02:13:24:3234 102 120
5 Bundaberg Racing Fabian Coulthard / Patrick Long Commodore VE2 102 01:12:0323 02:13:27:3948 102 111
6 Pepsi Max Crew Greg Murphy / Oliver Gavin Commodore VE2 64 01:12:8150 02:13:28:6881 102 102
7 Jack Daniel’s Racing Rick Kelly / Jorg Bergmeister Commodore VE2 72 01:12:8667 02:13:33:9845 102 96
8 Fujitsu Racing GRM Michael Caruso / Augusto Farfus Jr Commodore VE2 79 01:12:2442 02:13:35:1554 102 90
9 Mother Energy Racing Team Jonathon Webb / Gil de Ferran Falcon FG 88 01:11:8573 02:13:36:5708 102 84
10 Fujitsu Racing GRM Lee Holdsworth / Simon Pagenaud Commodore VE2 87 01:12:3749 02:13:38:3600 102 78
11 Toll Holden Racing Team Garth Tander / Ryan Briscoe Commodore VE2 65 01:12:8777 02:13:38:3741 102 72
12 Lucky 7 Racing Tim Slade / Helio Castroneves Falcon FG 72 01:12:7869 02:13:38:6205 102 69
13 Jack Daniel’s Racing Todd Kelly / Richard Westbrook Commodore VE2 95 01:12:5631 02:13:38:9841 102 66
14 Toll Holden Racing Team James Courtney / Darren Turner Commodore VE2 44 01:12:8328 02:13:42:2283 102 63
15 The Bottle-O Racing Team Paul Dumbrell / Christian Klein Falcon FG 47 01:13:0291 02:13:43:6123 102 60
16 SP Tools Racing Shane van Gisbergen / Emanuele Pirro Falcon FG 75 01:12:5124 02:13:45:4316 102 57
17 Jana Living Racing Jason Bargwanna / Allan Simonsen Commodore VE2 74 01:13:2757 02:13:47:4393 102 54
18 VIP Petfoods Steve Owen / Boris Said Commodore VE2 68 01:12:6251 02:13:50:4773 102 51
19 Stratco Racing David Reynolds / Alex Tagliani Commodore VE2 64 01:12:9075 02:13:51:1914 100 48
20 Westrac Racing Dean Fiore / Gianni Morbidelli Falcon FG 94 01:13:0722 02:14:09:6162 100 45
21 Team Boc Jason Bright / Sarrazin Stephane Commodore VE2 73 01:13:1356 02:13:53:7629 99 42
22 Supercheap Auto Racing Russell Ingall / Jan Magnussen Commodore VE2 39 01:13:1343 02:14:27:5129 97 39
23 Irwin Racing Alex Davison / Marc Lieb Falcon FG 58 01:13:4668 02:13:57:6370 78 36
DNF Wilson Security Racing Tony D’Alberto / Vitantonio Liuzzi Falcon FG 46 01:13:1534 02:13:31:6118 75 0
DNF TeamVodafone Craig Lowndes / Andy Priaulx Commodore VE2 26 01:12:6441 01:41:17:3821 52 0
DNF Jim Beam Racing Steven Johnson / Dirk Muller Falcon FG 20 01:14:2562 31:17:3493 24 0
DNF Gulf Western Oil Racing Warren Luff / Marino Franchitti Commodore VE2 6 01:15:2456 18:43:4264 14 0